What Does Power of Attorney Give You?

When a person (principal) is incapacitated or unable to handle their own personal affairs, a friend or family member is often given ‘power of attorney’ to make decisions on their behalf and to manage their affairs.The person selected to have power of attorney, called an ‘agent’, is generally a close and trusted friend or relative of the principal.There are many reasons why a person may need power of attorney (POA). Their mental capacity may diminish due to disease, illness, injury or age and can no longer take care of their own personal and financial situation.In these events, a close relative or friend is often given POA to assist in taking care of the person’s well-being.What rights does POA give an agent?Make healthcare decisions including what medical treatment the principal receives, what doctors they see, where they live, what they eat, who bathes them, and how much to spend on care.-Hospital care-Surgery-Home health care-Psychiatric care-Nursing home care-Assisted livingMake financial decisions including paying for healthcare, housing expenses and other bills, making investments of the principal’s behalf, managing property, filing taxes, and applying for benefits.What are a POA agent’s limitations?They cannot make decisions for the principal after their death. After death, the decisions fall to the principal’s executor of their estate. The agent cannot make any decision that would not be in the principal’s best interest. Lastly, the agent cannot transfer their POA to another person.POA is an area of law that’s constantly being refined. It’s vague terminology often allows those who have received the power to make decisions about the personal health, estate, and finances of the incapacitated individual that other family member or friends may not agree with. This often results in disputes and litigation between family and the agent.Setting up and establishing power of attorney can be a confusing process. Therefore, it’s best that any party looking to set it up seek out legal guidance from an attorney.[formidable id="7" title="1"]